If you were somehow ignorant about the history of the Italian death metal band Electrocution, you might guess from their possession of such a prized extreme-metal name that they first came to life a long time ago, and you’d be right. Originally founded in 1990, they’re rapidly approaching their 30th birthday. Not uncommonly for a band of such a vintage, there have been numerous line-up changes over the years, but founding vocalist/guitarist Mick Montaguti still leads the band, and on Electrocution’s new album Psychonolatry, he’s joined by other musicians whose astonishing performances, along with his own, send this record into the stratosphere.
Electrocuton haven’t been prolific in their releases. Two decades passed between the band’s first album and their second one, and this third one follows the second by five years. But once you listen to Psychonolatry — which we’re giving you the chance to do right now — you’ll quickly realize that something this extravagant couldn’t have been accomplished without a lot of careful planning, tremendous care, and a ton of hard work. Things like this don’t grow on trees, and they don’t get thrown together quickly.
The album truly is extravagant, a shock-and-awe campaign of Technical Death Metal carnage that changes from moment to moment, veering wildly into different tempos, different rhythmic sequences, and fast-morphing fretwork patterns, yet always somehow coalescing, returning to the main through-line riffs within each song before your brain becomes thoroughly scrambled like eggs in a searing pan. And each song is accented in different ways that help keep a listener glued in for the full trip.
The record begins with the ferocious one-two punch of “Psychonolatry (The Icons of God and the Mirror of the Souls)” and “Hallucinatory Breed”. They’re blazing fast, utterly barbaric, and technically lights-out, featuring breathtakingly explosive and acrobatic drumming, rapidly swirling bass notes, and deep, cruel, barbarous riffing. They become orgies of rampant violence, highlighted by darting bursts of blaring and swarming melody (as well as morbid groaning chords) and frequent doses of jittery fretwork and plundering grooves. Monster roars, crazed howls, and blood-curdling shrieks, together with epic, fret-melting solos, help lay down the blueprint for the wild experience that the rest of the album delivers.
But while breathtaking speed, full-bore savagery, and almost non-stop displays of eye-popping technical fireworks are the band’s signature template, Electrocution do augment each of the songs with individualized accents that succeed in keeping the listener expectantly perched forward, on the balls of the feet, waiting to be surprised and even shoved off-balance.
Just to give you a few hints of how those accents are fashioned within the persistent framework of music that burns in such a superheated roar that it sucks all the air out of the room: “Bulåggna” includes jackhammering grooves and jolting riffs, as well as slow, moody, soulful melodies, along with the expected orgies of unchained yet sharply executed mayhem, while “Warped” intertwines deep, brooding oppressive chords with shrill feverish, demented leads and skittering, swarming riffery.
In “Of Blood and Flesh” you’ll experience a solo that transitions from squalling to wailing to livid shrieking in the blink of an eye, and you’ll encounter a magnetic darting guitar melody followed by acoustic picking and strumming at the end of “Misanthropic Carnage” (which includes pulse-pounding guest vocals by The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad). Rapid bursts of blaring melody, somehow both magisterial and demented, lie within “Divine Retribution”, along with a moody bass line beneath a solo that soars like a blinding rocket from the midst of that scorching escapade (executed by guest guitarist Brandon Ellis from The Black Dahlia Murder and Cannabis Corpse).
All the instruments stand out in the production of the sound, and the bubbling mercurial tones and jazzy soloing of the bass becomes the star of “Organic Desease of the Sensory Organs”, while more jackhammering (and highly headbangable) grooves, eerie slithering leads, and dismal melodic accent the barrage of “Bologna”. As a closing bonus, the album also includes a fireball re-recording of “Premature Burial” from the band’s 1993 debut album, Inside the Unreal.
Electrocution have commented as follows about this new album:
“We are proud of this new musical chapter. We have left an important mark on the past and are committed to ensuring that this mark can remain indelible. Composing and recording these songs was challenging and, at the same time, natural and fun. We wanted to make an album that’s solid, violent, fun to play and listen to. We believe we made it!”
It’s quite easy to agree with those sentiments once you’ve listened to Psychonolatry. It’s more than solid, it’s undeniably violent, and it’s shitloads of fun to listen to.
The album will be released on February 8th by the Italian label GoreGoreCords (the death metal sublabel of Aural Music), and it will be available on CD, digital, and vinyl. You can pre-order it now: